The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman in Benue state, Mr John Ngbede, has appealed to pensioners in the state to be patient with the Gov Samuel Ortom-led administration over their outstanding pension and gratuities.
Ngbede, who made the appeal in Makurdi, said that government was making frantic efforts to clear the arrears of their pension and gratuities.
He said part of government’s commitment to addressing the issue was the constitution of Pensions Commission by the governor.
The commission, he said, comprises men and women of proven pedigree, who are, themselves, retirees from the civil service.
“The commission is theirs, and they ordinarily should have accorded some respect to it by allowing it to commence work without any hitch.
“By so doing, our respected retirees would have been seen as giving the commission, and by extension, the Gov. Ortom-led administration, benefit of the doubt.
”The state government had also paid over N18 billion as pensions and gratuities to the retirees from 2015 till date.
”The arrears of N11 billion owed the senior citizens by the previous administration have also contributed to the problem on ground, and this was reiterated by the governor while addressing the protesting retirees on Friday,” he said.
Ngbede said that it was a thing of concern to him that some chieftains of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) got themselves involved in the protests, and particularly condemned the visit to the protesting pensioners by a former Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav.
“The involvement of Tsav in a matter of that nature may not come as a surprise to those who are aware of his history of serial attacks on the person of Gov. Ortom.
”Tsav’s voice has never, at any time, been heard condemning the herdsmen’s invasion, which is the worst tragedy to have befallen Benue in recent times. (NAN)